I've been reading a lot lately. We've had wide open weekends, and the boys are learning how to occupy themselves. I have actually picked up a book during the day! Oh what a wonderful thing that is. To be able to devour a book. Here's what I've been reading...
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. Oh my. I may tear up just thinking about it. I adored this book and could not put it down until it was over. And then I thought about it for several days after. I'm not even going to say what it's about. It's a love story. And it's heartbreakingly wonderful.
The Mermaid of Brooklyn, by Amy Shearn. I really wanted to like this book, and overall I'd definitely say it was worth reading. The first half was really tough, though. It is the most honest depiction of motherhood I've ever read, and that made it difficult for me to stick with. Perhaps I am not far enough removed from those days - the bleary-eyed days when you fall asleep doing something, look down and realize you have breast milk leaking through your shirt, yell at your toddler, lock yourself in the bathroom just to get a moment of peace… I'm happy to be beyond that phase, so it was hard to revisit. But it was a worthy read.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth. It's a young adult trilogy, so if you liked The Hunger Games and Twilight, you'll like this one too. I read all three books in less than a week, and that's only because I had to go out and get the last two books. Extremely addictive and fun. Similar to The Hunger Games, though, I loved the first book, liked the second, and was disappointed by the third.
I've been doing it all week, and it's been wonderful. I woke up early on Thanksgiving morning to attend a yoga/boot camp class at a yoga studio right down the street from my house. What a glorious way to start an otherwise gluttonous day. I earned that cheese! and wine! and pie! As the sun was rising, I was doing my pigeon pose to stretch out my hips after doing what felt like a million squats. I was ridiculously sore the next day, and it felt so good. I was reminded to give thanks for my body. My strong, healthy body that takes me where I need to go and allows me to do everything I want to do.
The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen, where I cooked a feast. A fresh turkey from the farm, roasted acorn squash, green beans, salad, garlic and sage mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I was reminded to give thanks for good food, and the ability to fill my plate with it.
Kevin's mom, sisters, and brothers-in-law all came for the day. We had a wonderful time hanging out, catching up, playing games. The boys wanted to play numerous rounds of checkers and connect four, and they even got outside for a bit to play football on a really cold day. Family is what the day is really all about. My sister-in-law is due to have her first baby any day now, and we give thanks for an uneventful pregnancy so far and hope for a smooth delivery as our family continues to grow.
The boys and I put together our annual soup can turkey, and he had a lot of feathers this year. Aaron asked everyone what they were thankful for, and he wrote the answers on each feather. A nice family, health, good food, Buzz Lightyear, everybody here, Woody, baby Alex, cute boys, good music, a warm house, a nice brother, friends, Uncle John… A great list of things for which to be thankful. (Can you tell which are Nathan's contributions?)
After the big day, we got our Christmas tree and decorated the house. We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas as we decorated our tree, as we do every year. And Aaron had Grandma's help making the paper chain for the tree this year. I'm thankful for traditions, and I'm hopeful that the boys will cherish them as they get older.
It's almost time for my favorite holiday. A day to say thank you and to be grateful. What a beautiful day. We will spend it at home, with Kevin's family. I just picked up the turkey and some veggies from the farm, and I'm officially in preparation mode. I went to Costco yesterday, and they had these big beautiful pomegranates, so there's our centerpiece. (Pomegranates are so beautiful, and the boys love them.) I spent an hour and a half in line at the cheese shop this morning, and I'm sure I got too much as usual. But oh my goodness the joy and awesomeness in that place! I haven't hosted the big meal in a while, but I'm excited about it.
My lists often look similar, but that's okay. It's always good to give thanks. Here's what I'm thankful for this year:
1. My boys. The three of them. Always.
2. My family. They live too far away, and I miss them all the time; but I love them and am so happy I have them.
3. Friends. The ones I've known all my life, and the ones I just met. You can never have too many.
4. A warm house. I love our house. It's old and is a never-ending project, but it's home.
5. Music. Learning how to make a little of it myself only strengthens my love of people who create songs.
6. Food. Like that big block of Stilton cheese in my fridge. And pie. Roasted acorn squash. Carmelized walnuts. French toast. Yummmmmm…..
7. Books. There's a seemingly infinite supply. Lives to experience. Facts to learn. Emotions to feel. I love them.
8. My slippers, my fleece, my pajama pants, fun socks….clothes that keep me warm and cozy in the wintertime.
9. A little splash of maple liqueur in my egg nog.
10. Vacations, travel, and looking forward.
You know what I love most about my guitar lessons? It's not the playing, although obviously I love that, and after two lessons I have already picked up some tips that have improved my technique. It's learning about music. The language and structure of music. Learning how chords are built, and the structure they take on. Learning the notes that are in each key. I've been a singer all my life, and I know how to read music, but I never learned to understand it. I never took instrument lessons and therefore was never forced to practice scales and build each chord one note at a time. That's why I've never been able to advance beyond "beginner" at piano or guitar. I'm going back to do this now, and I'm so excited to be doing it. Learning is fun.
I'm enjoying a nice, if quiet, week. Lots of time at school - tomorrow I will spend the morning doing experiments and observations with cranberries with Aaron's first grade class (and I can't wait!). Lots of time thinking about next week - the menu is pretty much set although I want to ask Kevin his opinion on a couple sides. Lots of time reading, exercising, cleaning, errands, and doing all the other tasks that make up a lot of my days. I find I am content with this little life of mine.
Here are a few other things I've run across this week...
One of the best ads I've ever seen. I never go into Toys 'R Us. I did once, many years ago, and I was so saddened by the "pink" aisle and the "everything else" aisles. I will never go back.
Are you right-brained or left-brained? A quick and interesting quiz. I'm not sure I agree with the results, though. It says I'm right-brained, and I've always thought of myself as more of a left-brained person. (Even though we all know that's a bunch of crap anyway.)
Yet another of my favorite classic albums turns 20. This time, it's Belly's Star. This is an interview with Tanya Donelly, who remains a fave.
The busy trap. Another good article reminding us that it's more important to experience and ruminate about life than it is to stay busy all the time.
A great holiday dessert recipe - spiced pumpkin pie with candied hazelnuts and eggnog cream. I keep shaking my head…how have I never made eggnog whipped cream before? It sounds fabulous!
Even though we're not doing a gift exchange this year, it's hard not to think about what would make up my wish list. It's okay to want things, right? I also always end up getting Kevin something, because I think we should each have a little something under the tree. It's just more fun that way. So just in case he decides to reciprocate, I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm wanting right now. My birthday is in just a few months too, so here are some early ideas.
Perfume. I need a new scent, and I'm thinking I'd like to try Nectarine Blossom & Honey by Jo Malone.
Wallet. The wallet I'm using right now was purchased in one of those little side-street shops in NYC, where they pull you off the street into a dark little room stuffed with knock-off bags. (Mine is a "Coach" wallet.) I got it at least 15 years ago. My mom actually stitched it up a couple years ago to extend its life, but it's falling apart again. It's time for a new one.
Art. I want more of it in our house. And I don't want to wait until I know the exact spot for it. Photographs, posters, paintings… I just want to collect beautiful things and figure out where they go later.
Daytrotter Membership. Access to concerts and albums by new bands and favorites. Yes please.
Records. Classics I'd love to own include The Real Ramona (Throwing Muses) and August & Everything After (The Counting Crows). But there's a lot I'd love to have on vinyl. Some Christmas music would be fun to have too.
Le Creuset dutch oven. Or a cast iron skillet. Two items I'd love to add to my kitchen.
I finally got myself a rain coat, but I still need a pair of rain boots.
And workout clothes. I'm exercising often enough that I could use a few additional items. Like this maybe. Or this. Or this. Basics. I could probably use a new pair of shoes too, but I suppose I'd have to try those on myself.
What's on your wish list?
Labels: things i love
…It's the middle of a Monday morning, and I'm eating a pumpkin chocolate-chip cookie. We made them over the weekend, and they are great. I'm going to help in the library at school in a bit, so lunch will be late today. A couple cookies will tide me over.
…I'm pretty much done Christmas shopping. In our house, Santa brings one main present for each of the boys, and he fills their stockings. Done and done. I'll wait to do the wrapping in December with Little Women or A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life. We aren't doing any gift exchanges amongst adults this year. Keep it simple, everyone.
…No gift exchanges, although I am still planning on sending my mom and siblings a little something homemade again this year. I should think about when I'm going to do that.
…My fingers are sore. I had my first guitar lesson last week, and I'm trying to be diligent about practicing. Preparing for lessons #2. Yay!
…My to-do list today looks like this: dentist, volunteer at school library, 3 loads of laundry, pay a few bills, sweep downstairs, clean upstairs bathrooms. In addition to the usual dishes, cooking, and hanging with the boys. That's a good, full day.
…I feel pretty good. My cold is totally gone now, and I've gotten good sleep lately. It's amazing how much a good night's sleep can improve how I feel.
…I have my music on shuffle right now, and it's fun to be surprised. Playing music from the computer is especially surprising, because it contains my entire music collection. (Which reminds me, I should back up the computer today.) The morning's playlist has included The Milk Carton Kids, Trampled by Turtles, Lucinda Williams, Radiohead, The Lemonheads… At this moment, it's Madonna.
…It's kind of warm and muggy today, but the cold will be back tomorrow. I'm ready for it. Thanksgiving is next week! I want chilly outside so we can be cozy inside.
A few months back, someone in my Facebook feed (my nephew?) made a general comment about books, and he inadvertently started a discussion in the comments about the greatest classics and favorite novels. It's fun when that happens. In that discussion, my brother said that one of his favorites was The Count of Monte Cristo, and I confessed that I had never read it. It inspired me to pick up a copy and give it a read. As promised, it was wonderful!
I'm not really sure what inspired my husband to re-read The Catcher in the Rye, but he did. When he finished, I realized that I didn't really remember the book very well. Had I actually read it back in high school, or did I skim the cliff's notes before the test? Who knows? Either way, it didn't resonate with me back then. I read it again (or for the first time…I can't remember), and I really enjoyed it. I can understand why teenagers find it refreshing - the simple use of language, the rambling thoughts and honesty of Holden Caulfield… But I found it much more compelling as an adult.
Have you gone back and read (or re-read) any classics as an adult? It's fun to do. I read To Kill a Mockingbird last year, and although I loved it when I was in high school, I struggled to get through it this time around. My favorite is probably East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. I'm going to go back to working through the giant stack of unread books on my nightstand, but then I may have to pick up a couple other classics from my shelves. Pride and Prejudice, The Brothers Karamozov, A Tale of Two Cities… Do you have a favorite?
"But Mom, what can I do? I want to do something." - Aaron
"I DON'T WANT TO WEAR PANTS!!" (He screams, as he watches the snow outside.)
"I'm not mad at you anymore." (He tells me after school, wearing his pants.) - Nathan
"Mom, Aaron pushed me!" "Well, he was annoying me!" "Yeah but you shouldn't push people!" "Well, whatever. Sorry!"
"Mom, you don't even need a radio anymore, because I know how to play the piano now." - Aaron
(This week's music selection includes Yankee Doodle and Jingle Bells. And really, what more do I need?)
"What's for dinner, Mom?" "Fried bugs and onions." "EWWWWW! Gross!" "No, really?" "Okay….pizza." "YAY!"
"F-R-I-E-N-D. That's too easy, give me a hard one. S-P-E-C-I-A-L. Okay, wanna do math now?"
"Mom, make a word for me! P-L-A-N-T. Plant!" - Nathan (Reading words on the magnetic board by our table.)
"2+2 is 4, 5+5 is 10, 10+10 is 20. Did you know I knew all that?" - Nathan
"But why do I have to take a shower? I don't want to take a shower!" - Aaron
"Nathan, do you know how much I love you?" "A million a cazillion billion trillion willion times a billion." "Yep."
"Mom, come up and check on me in an hour." "Why?" "Because I will want another hug!" "Okay."
Winter is coming. As we ate breakfast this morning, the rain turned over to big fat snowflakes, and I got excited thinking about the coming season. Of course, it also meant that I had to make Nathan wear pants today, so he trudged off to school this morning with an epic pout on his face. He's mad at me, and that's okay.
The weekend was pretty good. I am fighting a cold, so all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch. I worked in the yard, raking and planting, for a few hours Saturday morning, but then I ventured back inside and enjoyed several hours in front of the fireplace. I read an entire book! I can't remember the last time I did that. Thank you, Kevin, for keeping the boys occupied all afternoon and allowing me that luxury. The boys stayed outside helping dad dig holes and plant bushes. They love to help.
That night, Kevin and I went out to dinner and a movie. We saw Gravity in 3D. Now, I am prone to motion sickness, and I generally hate 3D movies - those glasses are so annoying and hurt my head after a while. But I can honestly say that I am happy I saw this movie on the big screen in 3D. It was totally worth it, and it was so intense that I never once thought about the glasses at all. If you can see this one on the big screen, do it.
Sunday included brunch with friends and more working in the yard. I then cooked up a big pot of this minestrone, which I very much enjoyed and the boys very much hated. I guess I know what I'm having for lunch the rest of the week. It's really good, though. I used some of my homemade walnut pesto from the freezer, and it adds just the right flavor. I also used up the last of the kale from the garden - I think the garden is officially done now.
Monday was a holiday, so the kids and I enjoyed an extra day at home. We planted our tulip bulbs, fed our jack o'lanterns to the pigs at the farm, played on the playground, practiced piano and guitar, rode bikes, went to swim lessons, and wrote some letters/postcards.
Overall, it was a good weekend, despite my annoying cold. I'm appreciating a bit of silence now, and soon I'm going to dive into the week's to-do list.
Have a great week!
Happy Friday! First….I encourage you to hit play on the tiny desk concert above. I'm just getting to know Daughter myself. Listen while you read.
It's been a good, and quiet, week. Our door project is on hold, which is frustrating, but the break has been good too. Now let's hope it gets done next week.
I mostly exercise at home these days. The best time for me to do it is first thing in the morning, and the boys are here, so I no longer belong to a gym. Sometimes I go for walks, but I admit I don't like doing this when the weather is cold. Anyway….I exercise at home. I recently discovered a great site on YouTube. (There's a lot of great stuff out there!) Awesome, challenging workouts, and new ones posted every week. So I am feeling my butt and shoulders today and feel great!
Date night tomorrow night. Thinking of seeing Gravity, as it seems like a movie that should be seen in the theater. Have any of you seen it?
Fun news! Aaron takes piano, and during each lesson, Nathan and I just hang out. It occurred to me - or rather, my little sister wondered - that perhaps I should ask if there was a guitar teacher available at the same time. I did, and there is! Now of course I will have Nathan with me, so I hope he's okay hanging out and watching. I'm excited to see if I can make progress and advance a bit.
Here are a few other things I ran across this week:
Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed. This is so beautiful, it made me cry.
This woman was about to go into surgery for a double mastectomy, and this is what she did beforehand. Reminds me of my awesome cousin Tiffany. Brave, beautiful women.
Cameron Crowe's list of the greatest rock movies of all time. I admit I haven't seen many of them. Have you?
A 4-year-old Girl Asks a Lesbian if She's a Boy or a Girl. This is worth the ten minutes to watch. It's not just about gays coming out of the closet. It's about the hard conversations we all have.
Another beautiful song. Glen Hansard covers a Bruce Springsteen song, with help from Eddie Vedder.
Eddie and Glen, by Zoran Orlic, via Rolling Stone
Boston photos by Meg Fee
Life is good. We are all healthy and happy and learning and thriving and having fun. I'm totally settled into this life at home, content with the cleaning and cooking and school drop-offs and errands and after-school activities. Sometimes I think that every week starts to look the same after a while, but I remind myself that the same was true when I was going into the office. Routines are not a bad thing, but it's important to break them up as well. I work to plan ahead for date nights and meals with friends and family outings and holiday activities and vacations, and I try to add little surprises every now and then ("Let's go for ice cream before piano today!")… these provide the contrast to the everyday.
When everything is cruising along like this, my inner pessimist starts to make noise, wondering when the other shoe will drop. What is going to happen to shake things up? I can't stop this voice entirely, but I remind myself how to balance it out. Aaron's homework assignment yesterday was to write about five things for which he is thankful. (There's no doubt in my mind…Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever.) Anyway, after I reminded him what thankful meant, I was interested to see what he would include. Here's what he wrote:
1. I am thankful that I have a lovely family.
2. I am thankful that I have good food.
3. I am thankful that I have a nice brother.
4. I am thankful that I have a baseball field in my back yard.
5. I am thankful that I have a lot of good friends.
Yes, as I said…life is most definitely good.
The cutest robots ever, don't you think?
We enjoyed another fun night of trick-or-treating. I was happy the boys were excited to make their own costumes this year. (Well, I cut and wrapped the boxes, but they decorated them!) Many people commented on them, and although the heads came off rather quickly, they looked awesome.
They got a ton of candy, and I've changed my approach for handling it this year. I used to allow one piece at a time, after meals. I stole from the bag at night to help it dwindle faster, but this still allowed the candy fight to go on for weeks! This year I decided to let them go at it. They ate a ton last night, and this morning, and helped along by the fact that Aaron has decided he doesn't like candy with peanut butter in it, the piles are going away fast. My goal is to be done with it by the end of the weekend.
Speaking of the weekend, we are home for the first time in a few weeks. I'm anticipating a lot of raking and playing outside, and we're having friends over for dinner tomorrow night. I think I need to make an apple crisp. I'm looking forward to it, and it's a good weekend to get an extra hour.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend too!
photos via Cooking Light and Martha Stewart
We've had a lot going on lately, so we've had more meals out than usual. So this group is less a "menu of the week" and more a few of the recipes I made the last couple weeks. I still like posting these every now and then, because the menu creation and planning is honestly the hardest part about putting food on the table every night.
Macaroni & Cheese with Butternut Squash, Green Beans
One of my favorite Fall recipes, because I love butternut squash, and because the boys both eat this with gusto.
Potato, Corn and Leek Chowder, Whole Wheat Baguette
A family favorite. Again....because it's healthy and the boys love it.
Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad
We hadn't had this one in a while. Always a winner.
Chicken Stir-Fry Wraps, Sauteed Bok Choy and Broccoli
My sister reminded me that I hadn't tried too many new recipes from a cookbook she got for me, Everyday Food: Great Food Fast. It's a great book, and I love that it's organized by season. I do try to eat what's in season, especially now that the boys are a little older and are more willing to eat different foods. So this is one of the Fall recipes I chose. I ate them with the lettuce wraps, but I served it over rice for the boys. They weren't keen on bok choy but ate the broccoli, and I served raw red peppers for them as well. Those kinds of minor tweaks are ones I'm totally fine making, if it means they eat more veggies.
Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
Holy cow, this is good. This is absolutely going to be in the regular rotation from now on. Everybody ate tons of this, and it's just as good the next day. So yummy!
The weather. What a gorgeous Fall we have had. This time of year is always amazing here in New England, but it has been especially brilliant. Stunning colors, crisp air... And I'm generally not one to lament the coming of winter, so the chilly mornings are okay by me.
Interior decorating. I want to give my house that cozy and homey feeling. The look that is beautiful but still shows that a family lives here. When I walk into someone else's house that has that feeling, I immediately look around to try to figure out how they got it. It's the details - books, plants, mementos from travels, art... But the trick is only displaying those things that have real meaning. And waiting to collect those things takes patience. Sigh.
Family pictures. It is ridiculously hard to get a decent picture of all four of us. We are even generally pretty good about bringing our good camera with us, but still... Those family shots always seem to be impossible. Last year, my cousin Erin took pictures for us, and I was so excited to see the results! Nice pictures! Where we're dressed, and Kevin's clean-shaven, and the boys aren't covered in mud or food or something. Unfortunately, Erin lives in Chicago, so we had to find someone else this year, but we did, and with many bribes of lollipops, we all survived the shoot this past weekend. Now I'm in waiting mode, and I can't wait to see the results!
Pearl Jam. We saw them in concert last Friday night, and my heart is still smiling. They really are something special. After this many years and songs, they don't have an opening band. It was just Pearl Jam, rocking hard for over three hours. Eddie Vedder drank three bottles of wine and danced and swung across the stage, and his voice was still amazing. I figure if these guys, who are all about ten years older than I am, can still rock that hard, then we're all doing alright.
The Red Sox. They are one win away from winning the World Series. All the games are one so late, though, and I've been watching them all, staying up past midnight most nights. It's fun, but I'm pooped! Fingers crossed they win tomorrow night so I can get a decent night's sleep.
Thanksgiving. It's decided - Thanksgiving will be at our house this year. So I'm in full menu-planning mode. I need another green veggie, and I need to decide on desserts and appetizers. Fun!
But before Thanksgiving...Halloween! The costumes are ready to go, but we haven't carved our pumpkins yet! I think that may have to happen today.
Blogging and the internet. I went through my blog reader again this week, removing the blogs that don't inspire me any more, or just aren't important to me. No offense to those blogs, but there's only so much time! And I've been better at limiting time on the other social media sites - twitter, facebook, instagram. They're fun, but it's a balancing act to make sure I don't feel the pull to stay connected all day long.
Chris Thile performed at Carnegie Hall this week, playing a set of Bach sonatas that were written for a solo violin. I'm not sure what's more impressive - watching him play this gorgeous music on a mandolin, or the fact that he knows it by heart. Amazing and so beautiful.
Chris Thile – Photo by Jennifer Taylor via Grass Clippings
Because no Fall season would be complete without two little boys jumping and hiding in a giant leaf pile.
Because we had a lovely weekend, celebrating my sister-in-law with lots of family and friends on Saturday, and getting a lot of work done around the house on Sunday. (The shed is done!)
Because it's gorgeous outside, and I know the truly cold weather is coming.
Because I want to appreciate every single day.
Because there are so many moments worth capturing, but I remind myself that to be in the moment, I have to put the phone and the camera down. I have to step away from the computer.
Because our yard - our grass, specifically - has never looked so good. My husband is happy and proud, and I want him to know I see it too. (Dude is kinda crazy about his grass.)
Because I like checking in here, even when I have nothing in particular to say.
I'm growing tired of house projects. They feel so good when complete, but the before and during parts can be so miserable. We are done with the big stuff, but of course a house is never "done". We need a new front door and need a couple new interior doors. With an old house, we've opted to use real solid wood, salvaged doors. We also want to undo some of the fixes that were made to the house over the years to restore it to its original look and feel. It can be really difficult to find people who can work on old houses, so this project has been hanging over my head for months and I just want it to be done. I'm frustrated.
In the meantime, though, I'm enjoying the gorgeous Fall weather and the anticipation of the holiday season. It starts with Halloween, and I'm actually going with homemade costumes this year. Wish me luck. I'm psyched the boys wanted to do the same thing. Once Halloween is behind us, then the real planning begins. Meal planning, collecting gift ideas, party invitations... Now those are fun projects.
I have also been reminded that I've been slacking on documenting my gratitude here lately. Perhaps I need to get back into a weekly rhythm. A few things for which I am very grateful...
* Seasons. One of the many reason I love living where I do. We get four seasons, in all their glory. I'm especially grateful for that this time of year, during the best season of all. The season of pumpkins, mums, squash chowder, apple pie, leaf piles, blue skies, crisp air, and the World Series.
* Bookstores. The family participated in a reading contest - reading bingo - through the library over the summer. We won the grand prize! Included in a big gift bag was a gift certificate to a bookstore I had never been to before. I went by myself last week, and I spent almost two hours perusing the aisles. I forgot how much fun that is. I used to do that all the time, finding a comfy chair in a corner to read for a while. I didn't stay to read, but I did walk out with a new and fun stack of books.
* Discovering a song I can play on the guitar. I am not a very good guitar player, but I do love it. And I especially love when I find songs that I can play and sing. A couple days ago, Brandi Carlile came on in the car, singing "Keep Your Heart Young". It sounded simple enough, so I tried it out when I got home. I'm having fun singing it and getting the callouses on my fingers thick again.
I'm also very grateful for weekends and the fun that they often bring. Tomorrow includes a baby shower for my sister-in-law. I'm excited to see her growing belly and to see everyone's collective joy as we celebrate her.
I feel like I haven't had much to write about lately. It's been a quiet time, settling into Fall and shorter days and cooler weather. I've found myself doing more reading than writing. Taking things in rather than letting them out. I thought I'd share a few interesting things I've read recently.
Is Music the Key to Success? A very interesting article discussing the link between music training and success in other fields. I'm going to practice some piano today.
Six Words You Should Say Today. Like the author of this blog post, I had recently read the article discussing what makes good sports parents, and I was similarly affected. I am so happy I read this at the right time - just as my kids are starting to get involved in activities. I have found myself saying "I love listening to you play piano", "I love watching you run", "I love watching you read." And it's obvious that it's what they want to hear. I will continue to remind myself of this as they progress in sports and music and other activities.
What does your favorite yoga post say about you? My favorite is the pigeon pose. I love the feel of stretching my hips, those spots that rarely get stretched outside of a good yoga session. "Working the edges", as they say in the article. What's your favorite?
I'm not ambitious, and that's okay. I very much related to the author of this article. It's nice to hear from someone more in line with myself. Someone who's honestly not interested in being at the top.
15 Recipes Every Parent Should Know. A good post by my favorite food blog.
Interview with Malala Yousafzai. I just wanted to make sure you all saw this. Hopefully you know who Malala Yousafzai is, but even if you don't, check out this interview. You'll be astonished this teenage girl is as poised and articulate and compassionate and mature as she so obviously is.
We had a wonderful weekend. Our friends came to visit, and we had a wonderful time hanging out with them. We went out, to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and then to see Kingsley Flood in concert. It was a great meal and an awesome show and just an overall good time.
On Sunday, we went apple-picking. One of our favorite Fall activities, although I must admit that the poison ivy crawling up the base of every apple tree did add a little more stress than usual. I was happy to oblige the boys' desires to use the poles to pick apples from the higher branches. We came home with many pounds of tasty apples and promptly made a pie. We finished it that night, so now I need to line up some other apple recipes. Cinnamon-apple crumb cake, apple tart, applesauce... Aaron's eating two or three a day, though, so I think we'll go through them pretty quickly.
On Monday, we played a little baseball in the morning, and then after our friends had to leave, we enjoyed an afternoon walk through a wildlife sanctuary. It was a gorgeous day.
Monday was Columbus Day here in the U.S., so it was a long weekend for us. It actually felt like it, too. Speaking of Columbus Day...it is such a strange holiday. I've always viewed it as just an extra day in the Fall for us to get out and see the pretty trees - this weekend is almost always the peak of foliage season. But now I have kids. Aaron wanted to know what it was all about, so I explained who Christopher Columbus was; but then I also added that there were native people who lived in the Americas long before he arrived. So it's really odd that he would have a holiday, and it still seems strange that they teach the story of Columbus in the same way. I'll be happy when Aaron's old enough to read some Howard Zinn.
I love that it's already Tuesday, even though my weeks are filled with days to be enjoyed, not to be survived. It's still nice to have a short week every now and then. It feels like the pace is downshifted just a bit. I started out the short week by attending a breakfast and coffee get-together with a group of mothers from Nathan's preschool. As expected, it was a nice time, and I think I actually remembered everyone's names. Yay! The new Pearl Jam and The Head and the Heart and The Avett Brothers albums are all out today, so I have a lot to listen to as I get started on the housecleaning. Off I go...
Picture via Better Homes and Gardens
I've reached the end of another week. After a gloomy and, let's be honest, kinda grumpy weekend, I was able to pull myself back together to enjoy a good week. I'm now pretty settled into my life at home, and I've determined that I have to have that "to-do" list ready for the week. Checking items off the weekly list, along with the regular tasks of exercising every morning, packing lunches, helping with homework, attending swim/piano classes, reading every night...this is how I continue to have the feeling of accomplishment at the end of every day. I think about trying to balance it all with working and I feel my blood pressure rise. I am so grateful for this time to focus on life at home and with my boys, and I never take it for granted.
via Pinterest - source unknown
We're transitioning to cooler weather, and although I enjoy the process of pulling out my sweaters and wearing jeans every day, my boys have a harder time with it. They don't want to let go of their shorts and sandals. Aaron finally caved and decided to wear pants on a particularly chilly morning, but Nathan is clinging to his shorts and refuses to acknowledge the fact that Summer is over. I figure he'll complain once he really gets cold. Maybe with the first snow? Anyway, I think there are more important things to fight about.
In the meantime, the boys ask me at least a couple times a week when we are going skiing. I think I need to help them appreciate the beauty of Fall. Apple-picking (and pie!) is on the agenda for the weekend.
We're still working on details, but now that the living room has come together, we're shifting our focus to the family room. We moved our old sofa and chair into this room, and we've realized that our current furniture doesn't quite work. We're going to sell them and get a sectional, replace the old wobbly coffee table we've had for 13 years, and maybe get one more thing for the walls. It's a fun project to have.
via Pinterest - source unknown
We have friends coming to visit for the weekend, and I can't wait. They are good for my soul. We are even going out tomorrow night, leaving four kids with a sitter. Woo!
The Red Sox are in the championship series!
Speaking of baseball, Aaron had requested a baseball party for his birthday. Then he realized that most of his friends are girls, and he's thinking they might not like a baseball party. What's a boy (and his mom!) to do...
Half of my to-do list consists of organizing and cleaning tasks around the house. Not the everyday stuff, but things like taking everything out of the linen closet, folding, cleaning, and putting it all back. I am oddly happy doing these kinds of activities and so incredibly satisfied when they're done.
We attended a charity walk last night in Boston with my husband's company. It was to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We brought the boys with us and enjoyed the walk around the Boston Common. I also enjoyed the thoughtful questions posed and comments made by Aaron, including, "What is cancer? Do kids get cancer too? What are they going to do with the money we raise tonight?" His last comment was a little painful..."I hope I never get cancer." Well me too, little man, me too.
I am starting to think about holiday menus. I need a fabulous dessert recipe for the bake-off. Got any ideas for me?
I have a coffee get-together with a group of the moms from Nathan's preschool next week. I know at least a few of the women now, and yet I'm still dreading it. I will go, though, and it will be good. I know this and yet...
via Pinterest - source unknown